reflective teaching

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  • 1. What is reflective teaching? Reflective teaching means looking at what you do in the classroom andgiving it a meaning by attaching the why question to what you gothrough. You also empower your students to ask these why questions to theirclassroom experiences. You start by recognizing that you and your students are key persons inlearning environment. Your being in the classroom must make sense to you and your students. Your relived/recalled experiences as a teacher and those of yourstudents are explored and evaluated to let you fulfill your mission andvision in the teaching profession.

2. Richards (1990) argues that reflective teaching isa move beyond the ordinary to ahigher level of awareness of how teaching andtake place. This demands that you and yourstudents be involved in a process of selfobservation and self evaluation.Thus, you and your students must gatherinformation on your practice and experiences.This information is organized, analysed andinterpreted to identify whatbeliefs, assumptions and values are attached toyour practices and experiences. 3. You and your students end up recognising,examining and ruminating what you do as ateacher and students, respectively.We may envision what is happening in Figure2. You and your students must place yourselfat every step of the figure because what ishappening is about you and your practiceand experience. 4. Figure 2: Cyclic flow of reflective teaching1Collectdata2Analysedata3Evaluatedata4reflect5Plan6Makedecision7Act 5. Why reflective teaching?Reflective teaching informs you that you are in charge of yourteaching/learning and that you have a major contribution tomake towards its success.This is why your behaviour must not be taken for granted asit needs to be continuously evaluated to let your practice andexperiences be meaningful.To you the teacher,reflective teaching is a deliberate move toallow you think critically of your teaching practice so that yourstudents can maximize their learning.Thus,through a change oriented activity, you contribute highlyto your professional development.Richards (1990) argues that experience alone is insufficientfor professional growth, but experience coupled withreflection is a powerful impetus for teacher development. 6. Reflective teaching is a mark of a concerned teacher who isskilled enough to examine his/her beliefs, values andassumptions behind the teaching practice.The insights derived from this exercise are used to improveyour practice.According to Bailey (1997) reflective teaching is about a skilledteaching of knowing what to do.You examine your work so that you consider alternative waysof as certaining that your students learn.This takes place through searching for deeper understandingof your teaching.So, you are able to monitor, critique and defend that whichyou implement and how you implement it. 7. It is possible that reflective teaching may turn you to be aresearcher because of its dimension of self inquiry.Through self inquiry, much of what is unknown becomes clearso that you end up improving your practice and planning.Thus,your personal experiences are turned into stories whichcan be shared with your peers.In this manner, reflective teaching is a professional alternativeto action research.It is a personal means of conducting your own ongoingprofessional life by solving problems in a systematic manner. 8. What are you doing in reflective teaching? Youare integrating theory and practice.By making use of constructivist approach youaddress issues which emanate from yourpractice and experience. You are able to dothis because you care about your professionwhich prepares young people for life in thesociety.Is this your self fulfilling prophecy? If so, thenreflective teaching is an intrinsic motivationaldevice to your work. 9. How is reflective teaching effected?In the first place there must be something which calls foryour reflection. Attentionto the issue of concern is important. The expectation is thatyou mustgather information on what is of concern. This is step oneof reflective teaching.There are various ways of collecting the information. Theyinclude: 10. Keeping of a journal which is a form of diary of your experiences.You will need to keep a record of experiences which havehappened. This makes it be phenomenological in nature. It has tobe done consistently if the information will be of any worth. It is anactivity whereby the teacher takes notes of the situation he/she isundergoing. These notes are in form of personal statementsfocusing on feelings, opinions and perceptions about others withwhom the teacher comes in contact with during the course ofhis/her practice (Fraenkel and Wallen, 1992). What one records isnot for public access. It is a personal record of letting out onesfeelings and skills keeping them private. They are generally putdown on daily basis for purpose of hoping to improve practice bylater consultation of the records.Journal writing is an opportunity for you to use the process ofwriting to describe and explore your teaching and learningpractices.According Fraenkel and Wallen (1992) journal keepingis one of the tools under use to promote teachers development ofreflective thinking. The writing engages you in a deeper level ofawareness and response to teaching than you would obtain bymerely discussing teaching in terms of teaching procedures andlesson plans. 11. Peer mentoring takes form of you observing a mentors practice orthe mentor observes your practice and a record is made for feedbackpurposes (Arther, Davision and Moss, 1997). The focus of attentionmay be on how to keep students lively in a class discussion. Oneway of doing it isby being a non participant observer of classroom practice. This is anact of attending to an area of interest by being present to look at andlisten to what is happening in a focused manner. This is opposite toparticipant observation where you penetrate the class to learn whatis there to be learn. In non participant observation you just observewithout getting Insert involved; textthe observation is done from sidelines. Youdescribe the scene herein your own way; the students, the teacher andthe dialogue events without ignoring the obvious. You do all that toattach meaning to the teachers practice. 12. Recording of your lessons through either audio orvideo or even by use of paper and pencil. For instance,you can use a tape recorder to tap the types ofquestions students pose in a mathematics lesson.These recorded experiences become the focus of whatto reflect upon.Feedback from your students. This can be donethrough ordinary questioning. It may be a littleadvanced by you giving questionnaires to students.Their responses become data targeting theirperspectives towards what you may have to chooseas a way forward. 13. The other steps which follow each other are:Critically think about the patterns arising from the specificrecord. You are engaged in searching for understanding byasking questions about what and why practices. Thesequestions let you not take anything in the classroom practicefor granted. Together with critical thinking are dimensionslike heuristic, creative and insightful thinking which stress onhow you solve and deal with issues at hand. Insightfulthinking lets you to be rationally informed of what ishappening, while creative thinking is about imaginative andoriginal ideas and ways of doing things by identifyingalternatives. 14. Refer to an expert who may be a peer or amentor to have a discussion with him/herabout emerging issues of your practice.This lets you be open minded to broadenyour perspectives as you pose to him/herquestions which make the storiesmemorable.Read as a way to find out more about thepatterns emerging from the collectedinformation. This keeps you informed. 15. Associate with colleagues in a meeting,seminar, conference or workshop.Attend seminars, workshops andconferences which provide newperspectives to emerging issues about yourpractice. 16. The final step is about you deciding on what todo. The aspect of decision making seems tosuggest that there are alternatives and theirimplications. Implement the change if needbe as a way of enhancing your professionaldevelopment. At this point, the process ofreflection begins again, as it is cyclic. 17. THE STEPS How to begin What to do next 18. HOW TO BEGIN 19. HOW TO BEGIN 20. HOW TO BEGIN 21. HOW TO BEGIN 22. HOW TO BEGIN 23. WHAT TO DO NEXT 24. WHAT TO DO NEXT 25. WHAT TO DO NEXT 26. WHAT TO DO NEXT 27. WHAT TO DO NEXTXTQuestion posted on websites/journalsTrainings

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